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Would the US tolerate a hostile military presence in Tijuana? So why do we expect Russia to welcome the advance of NATO to its borders in Ukraine? Photo: Jesus overlooks Tijuana from a hillside above the city; by Nathan Gibbs via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Ukraine and the Cuban missile crisis - we must choose peace over annihilation

William R. Polk

28th February 2015

As tensions grow between US-dominated NATO and Russia, former cold warrior William R. Polk hears the echoes of the Cuban missile crisis - only this time, it's Russia that feels forced to fight for its vital strategic interests. We must hear the lessons of 1962 Cuba - and negotiate a just and durable peace, before we sleep-walk into a world-destroying war. more...
Chafer Sentry applying glyphosate to stubbles in North Yorkshire on a sunny December day. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Roundup - a converging pattern of toxicity from farm to clinic to laboratory

Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji / ISIS

25th February 2015

As scientific evidence grows of the many ways in which glyphosate - pipe-cleaner, herbicide and antibiotic - damages the environment and health, governments and regulators turn a blind eye, writes Dr Eva Sirinathsinghji, and the EU has even raised allowable residue levels. It's time for us all to put bans in place wherever we can! more...
Plastic waste on the 'Mayan Riviera', Quintana Roo, Mexico. Photo: John Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Fighting the plastic plague in our oceans

Dr Mae-Wan Ho

13th February 2015

On current trends the world will contain 33 billion tonnes of plastic by 20150, writes Mae Wan Ho, and much of it will litter the oceans, concentrating toxins and damaging marine life throughout the food chain. The alternative is to classify the most toxic plastics as 'hazardous waste', and for all plastics to be reused and recycled in 'closed loop' systems. more...
Gigatonnes of carbon rising from the frigid Southern Ocean put an end to the last ice age. Photo: Natalie Tapson via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Carbon stored deep in Antarctic waters ended the last ice age

Miguel Martinez-Boti & Gianluca Marino

12th February 2015

The last ice age came to an end following the massive release of carbon dioxide from the Southern Ocean, write Miguel Martinez-Boti and Gianluca Marino, and the signature of that event is written in planktonic shells. It's a timely reminder that the oceans contain 60 times more carbon than the atmosphere - and we want to keep it there. more...
Children gather around an unexploded shell fired by Kiev forces into a residential area of Eastern Ukraine. Photo: Colonel Cassad (cassad-eng.livejournal.com).

Russian aggression and the BBC's drums of nuclear war

Oliver Tickell

30th January 2015

The drums of war are beating on the BBC and other mass media, writes Oliver Tickell - naked propaganda about fictitious 'Russian aggression' intended to soften us up for a war that could wipe out life on Earth. We must refuse to fall for the endlessly repeated lies, and tell our politicians that our highest priority of all is peace. more...
A child brushes his teeth in lead-contaminated water in Klity Creek, Thailand. Photo: Human Rights Watch.

Thai communities poisoned by illegal lead mine waste

The Ecologist

22nd January 2015

For 16 years the Thai government has ignored the plight of a community where toxic lead mine waste is causing severe chronic poisoning - defying both a 2013 court order, and its international obligations. It's just one of many toxic sites across Thailand that need to be cleaned up - but the government's main concern is to encourage further industrialisation. more...
A California Condor near the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon. Photo: George Kathy Klinich via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

Condors or lead ammunition? We can't have both

Dawn Starin

21st January 2015

The recent death of Ventana the condor in Los Angeles zoo illustrates a simple truth, writes Dawn Starin: wild condors cannot survive so long as the dead amimals they eat are riddled with lead from spent ammunition. With lead poisoning to blame for 60% of condor deaths, it's time to ban lead ammunition across their entire range - and beyond. more...
Aboriginal stories say Fitzroy Island on the Great Barrier Reef was connected to the mainland. It was, at least 10,000 years ago. Felix Dziekan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA) / felixtravelblog.de.

Deep time: Aboriginal stories tell of when the Great Barrier Reef was dry land

Nick Reid & Patrick Nunn

29th January 2015

Stories told by Australia's Aboriginal peoples tell of the time, over 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age came to an end, and sea levels rose by 120 metres, write Nick Reid & Patrick Nunn. The narratives tally with the findings of contemporary science, raising the question: what is it about Aborigines and their culture than so accurately transmitted their oral traditions across thousands of generations? more...
Eocene fauna of North America, on a 1964 mural made for the US government-owned Smithsonian Museum. Photo: Jay Matternes / Wikimedia Commons.

Sudden global warming 55m years ago was much like today

David Bond

5th January 2014

The Earth's current warming is looking similar to what took place 55 million years ago, writes David Bond. And if it works out that way, the news is good: we may avoid a mass extinction. On the other hand, the poles will melt away completely, and it will take hundreds of thousands of years for Earth to get back to 'normal'. more...
Contaminated land in West Yorkshire, England - the site of a former chemicals factory. Photo: Engineering at Cambridge via Flickr.

Death by landfill - cutting 'green tape' costs lives

Paul Mobbs

22nd December 2014

As Cameron 'cuts the green crap' Paul Mobbs remembers how the decisions of a Conservative government 20 years ago to go easy on the owners of contaminated land and old waste dumps have led to present day blight, ill-health and death. Now brow-beaten regulators and politicians in hock to party funders are doing it all over again. more...
This roman aqueduct near Haifa in modern-day Israel took water to Caesaria, the civilian and military capital of Judaea. But ultimately, most of the water flowed to Rome itself - if in virtual form. Photo: C. J.™ via Flickr.

The food-water-energy nexus defeated the Romans. It could defeat us too

Jonathan Bridge

13th December 2014

As well as being masters of water engineering, the Romans also engaged in a long distance trade in water across the Mediterranean - embodied in grain, oil, wine, cloth, metals and other goods. They also discovered the food-water-energy nexus - and not in a good way. We need to heed the warnings from Roman history. more...
The garbage that builds up incessantly on the Praia de Achados beach presents formidable obstacle to loggerhead turtles seeking nesting sites. Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Over 268,000 tonnes of ocean plastic - neglect it at our peril

Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull

11th December 2014

The oceans are awash with plastic, write Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull, with dire effects on marine wildlife mistaking it for food. But it's not just big animals like basking sharks, turtles and albatrosses that suffer. The very worst damage may be caused by particles too small for the eye to see, and the toxic chemicals that cling to them. more...

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Stonehenge itself may benefit from the tunneling - but at the expense of the its wider landscape in the 27 sq.km World Heritage Site. Photo: Todd via Flickr.

Stonehenge World Heritage Site at risk from A303 tunnel plans

Kate Fielden

13th December 2014

The government's plans to tunnel the A303 under the Stonehenge World Heritage Site has one grievous flaw, writes Kate Fielden. The tunnel is too short, so huge portals and graded junctions at both ends would lie entirely within the WHS causing huge damage to landscape and wipe out archaeological remains. more...
Downtown East Liverpool. Photo: Caitlin Johnson.

Appalachia: a small city's fight against toxic waste incineration

Caitlin Johnson

5th December 2014

East Liverpool, a small city by the Ohio river, is a cancer-ridden dumping ground for the detritus of the global economy, writes Caitlin Johnson. With its filthy power station, coal ash lake, 1,300 fracking wells, silica sand mountains and a huge toxic waste incinerator, the city's people need your help in their fight for environmental justice. more...
Wolves - to reduce farm animal predation, don't shoot them! Photo: USFWS Midwest, CC BY.

Shot in the foot? Killing wolves, lynx, cougar increases farm predation

Niki Rust

4th December 2014

Farmers who shoot wolves and other predators to save their animals from predation are actually having the opposite effect, writes Niki Rust. The disruption that killing predators has on the stability of their families and packs actually causes more, not less predation. Ultimately, we're better off learning to live with predators. more...
Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr.

Negligent and unlawful: EFSA's latest guidance on pesticide use and exposure

Georgina Downs

4th December 2014

After an apparent cave-in to Europe's pesticide industry, the European Food Safety Authority's latest guidance on pesticides conflicts with European law, writes Georgina Downs - by ignoring the real-life agrochemical exposure of rural residents. Commission President Juncker must step in and demand the withdrawal of this disgraceful document. more...
The possible lengthening of ice-free periods may affect polar bears before the end of the century. Photo: Brocken Inaglory via Wikimedia Commons.

With melting Arctic ice, Canada's polar bears face wipe-out by 2100

Tim Radford

6th December 2014

The expected melting of sea ice in Canada's Arctic Archipelago will progressively render huge areas unable to support viable polar bears populations, writes Tim Radford. By 2100 the polar bears could be pushed out altogether. more...
The Real Costs of Fracking - front cover.

Exposed: what fracking really does to you, your family, pets and food

Allison Wilson

25th February 2015

America's shale gas boom threatens families, pets, and food, writes Allison Wilson. Fresh from her reading of 'The Real Costs of Fracking', she finds a host of adverse health impacts on those living near fracking sites, the toxic pollution of the food chain, and a wall of corporate and official secrecy. more...
No neonics here: organic Brussels sprouts from Home Farm, Nacton. Photo: Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr.

Farming for profit? Or for people, nature, health, wellbeing and human survival?

Colin Tudge

19th November 2014

Farming today is well on the way to becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of the agro-chemical-biotech industry, writes Colin Tudge. Defra and the European Commission are all too keen to make it so, reflecting the interests of an agro-oligarchy obsessed with profits and growth at all costs. But there is an alternative. Join the 'real farming' agrarian renaissance ... more...
Is this the kind of Arctic you want, cross-crossed by shipping, complete with oil rigs, mining, industrial fishing and pollution? If not, get behind the Arctic Declaration! Photo: epsdave via Pixabay.

We must keep the Arctic clean, wild and free!

Professor Robert Spicer

17th November 2014

The Arctic is a special place, teeming with life, but it is under threat like never before, writes Robert Spicer - not just from climate change, but from oil drilling, industrial fishing and shipping, as receding ice creates now commercial opportunities. We must designate an Arctic Sanctuary where nature can reign undisturbed. more...
The Golden Oriole is one of the birds set to benefit from the protection of the Aftrica-Eurasia Flyway. Photo: m-idre31 via Flickr.

New protection for migratory birds and their 'flyways'

The Ecologist

14th November 2014

Two new international agreements will help to save migratory birds from hunting, trapping and poisoning, and to protect their long-distance flyways. A key objective is to phase out lead shot within three years, and eliminate the toxic drug diclofenac. more...
Lorsban is sprayed on a soccer pitch to control grubs, 1987. Photo: srv007 via Flickr.

Chlorpyrifos - cause of birth defects, mental impairment - sprayed on farms across the US

Janette D. Sherman

15th November 2014

Dow's teratogenic pesticide chlorpyrifos is a human and environmental disaster, writes Janette D. Sherman. It causes serious, irreversible damage to the human foetus even at low concentrations that may be harmless to the mother, resulting in severely and permanently disabled and mentally damaged children. But it's still sprayed in vast quantities on America's farms. more...
Sole of shoe at 'Highway of Death' in Iraq, where DU munitions were used to destroy tanks and other vehicles of Saddam Hussein's retreating army in Gulf War I. Photo: Christiaan Briggs via Flickr.

UN Resolution warns nuclear WMD states: end is nigh for DU munitions

John LaForge

10th November 2014

Only four countries opposed a UN Resolution on 'depleted uranium' munitions: the USA, UK, France and Israel, all nuclear WMD states whose use of DU leaves battle fields contaminated with toxic, radioactive residues for millennia into the future. The overwhelming support for the Resolution puts the WMD states on notice - DU munitions are no longer acceptable. more...
Spaying agro-chemicals on a windy day. Photo: Graham Rawlings via Flickr.

Agricultural pesticides - the gaping hole in the UK's 'Pollinator Strategy'

Georgina Downs

6th November 2014

The Government's 'National Pollinator Strategy' has a fatal flaw, writes Georgina Downs - it contains no meaningful measures to address farmers' spraying of highly toxic pesticides, often in mixtures that can further increase the harm they cause. And with 80% of the UK's pesticides used in agriculture, that's setting the 'strategy' up to fail. more...
Monument to the 1984 Bhopal disaster. Photo: Luca Frediani via Wikimedia Commons.

Bhopal 30 years on - justice evaded, but the fight goes on

Vijay Prashad

3rd December 2014

Thirty years ago today, Union Carbide's pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, released toxic gases that killed 3,787 people and injured over half a million, writes Vijay Prashad. The site is still contaminated, victims remain uncompensated, and the area suffers from a high rate of serious birth defects. Yet UC's CEO evaded justice, to die in a Florida nursing home this year at the age of 92. more...

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